10 Perfect BBQ Desserts for Memorial Day

Who else is excited for a long holiday weekend?! 🙋🏼

Summer kicks off next week and with the long Memorial Day weekend upon us, you might have a BBQ or a gathering of friends and family to attend. BBQ season is a favorite of mine and I’m here to make sure you don’t have to show up empty handed.

Below is a roundup of BBQ-ready desserts that are a snap to throw together, have all those spring/summer flavors, and are easy to serve to a crowd. Hope you have relaxing long weekend!

For a Classic Crowd Pleaser | Perfect Summer Strawberry Shortcake

For the Citrus Lovers | Key Lime Pie

(Who doesn’t love a key lime pie?)

For the Donut Enthusiast | Lemon Blueberry Donuts

(Lemon and blueberries just FEELS like summer to me)

For the Slightly Healthier Snack | Peach Raspberry Bars

(I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m saying it!)

For the Ultimate Kid-Friendly Snack | Chocolate + Confetti Rice Krispie Treats

(And also perfect for adults too)

For a Twist on a Classic | Peach Shortcake

(It’s not quite peach season here in PA but if you can get good peaches, this is divine)

When You Need to Feed a Crowd | Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

(perfect for doubling)

For the Mini Lovers | Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

(after all these years, I still think these upside down cupcakes are adorable)

For the Boozy BBQ | Strawberry Mojito Popsicles

(the BBQ I’m looking to attend tbh)

For the Chocolate Lovers | S’mores Brownies

xo

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

The perfect spring Strawberry Rhubarb Galette via Unusually Lovely

It’s Wednesday morning. I’ve been up since 5:30AM since I had an hour of personal training to get through this morning and I’m already looking forward to hitting my pillow after work and watching tv from bed.

I’m finding myself more and more a homebody these days. Spring has definitely sprung in Philadelphia and (except for the weeks-worth of rain we just had) it’s been incredibly enjoyable to spend time at home, watering the plants on the deck, grilling dinner and going to bed early. Slowing down is something that I’ve been working on this year, so making less plans with people, not booking up my weeks, and planning my schedule out in advance so things don’t sneak up on me + working on my own relaxation guilt that often cause myself to have. At another stage in my life, I absolutely would have found this boring, but at this phase it helps me savor my time out and about with friends, spending time with G, and save some money without feeling like I have to give up everything to do so.

The change in the seasons means I’m looking forward to Saturdays walking around the city and happy hour negronis at outdoor bars. Spring always feels like a reset to me. You open the windows and start making summer plans. And if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you probably know that I love the feeling of change.

I recently went to the supermarket looking for rhubarb because I wasn’t sure exactly when rhubarb season was, but I knew it was coming up and wanted to work on this recipe. I went wandering around my local Sprouts, couldn’t find it and asked a woman stocking the produce if they carried it. She looked at me like I had two heads, not understanding the item I was looking for. She had never heard of rhubarb, and definitely didn’t know what it looked like. I googled it quickly and showed her a photo of it, she still had no idea. She then grabbed another person working in the produce department, who ALSO HAD NO IDEA WHAT RHUBARB IS.

These woman worked in the produce department! I could understand if you maybe didn’t know what it looked like, but to never have even heard the word rhubarb before?! It’s in a lot of pies! Moral of the story is that I did not get rhubarb for this recipe from the supermarket, but we picked it a few days later at G’s sister’s house, which honestly is wayyyy better.

Galettes are pretty great because they are quick and easy with no pie pan or pre-baking the crust needed. Made from homemade pie crust is obviously preferred, but hey, sometimes you just have a refrigerated pie crust sitting in your fridge that you need to use up, or you can’t be bothered making homemade pie crust. I’m not here to judge you, just tell you to throw some fruit in there, turn over the sides, sprinkle it with sugar and call it a day. Hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Yields 6 slices

  • your favorite pie crust (or a refrigerated one)

  • 2 1/2 cup rhubarb

  • 2 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced largely)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • half a lemon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon butter, cold and cut into small cubes

  • coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

I should begin by saying that if you don’t want to create the arranged rhubarb on top of the strawberries, you can always cut the rhubarb into smaller pieces and just mix in with the strawberry filling. Won’t be as pretty, but will taste the same and be a lot less effort.

Cut your rhubarb into similar-sized pieces, cut on the diagonal so you can create the chevron pattern. I cut my pieces about 2 1/2 inches long. I also find it easiest to assemble when I’ve laid out the pattern on a cutting board first and then move it to the galette.

In a large bowl, add sliced strawberries and rhubarb pieces, sugar, and light squeeze of juice from half a lemon. Stir until everything is covered in sugar. Place bowl in the refrigerator and let macerate for 30 mins.

Remove bowl from fridge and add vanilla extract and corn starch and stir until the corn starch has been absorbed. If you are arranging the rhubarb on top, remove them from the bowl and set aside.

Lay out your pie crust on a nonstick baking mat placed on baking sheet. Spoon the strawberries* into the center of the pie crust and flatten it so you have a flat surface to arrange your rhubarb on. You will want at least a 2-inch border around the berries to fold the galette over. Place the rhubarb in the chevron pattern on top of the strawberries. Things are going to move a little while baking, so it definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.

Fold the border over to create the crust and trap in any juices, being aware to not make any cracks or holes. Arrange the butter on the top of the galette. Brush the beaten egg on the crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar to get a golden brown when baked.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. If you do spring a leak during baking (mine definitely has), don’t panic! Galettes are made to be rustic and simple looking. A few times during cooking, use a rubber kitchen brush to brush the expelled juices on top of the rhubarb to get a nice shine.

Remove from the oven and cool. Slice and eat!

*If you aren’t arranging the rhubarb on top, cut the rhubarb into smaller pieces and keep mixed in with the berries. Spoon the entire mixture into the center of the crust, fold over, and bake.

Recipe: Salty Peanut Butter & Fluffernutter Cookie Sandwiches

Do you have those flavors from your childhood that really stick with you? Flavor combos that you don’t indulge in very often, but when you do you are immediately transported to a different time and place?

I think for many, peanut butter fluffernutter sandwiches is one of those flavor combos. A mix of sugary marshmallow fluff and sticky, salty peanut butter. The kind of sandwich that sticks to the roof of your mouth and you have to pry it off with your tongue.

I will be honest with you (because we’re all friends here) and say that as a child, not too crazy about marshmallow fluff. Not my jam. But as an adult who is constantly seeking that perfect sweet and salty combo, I’m all about a fluffernutter sandwich. And these cookies sandwiches take one of my fav recipes to date (these pb cookies) and elevates them to a holier place: the perfect sweet and salty.

And since we’re being honest, my peanut butter sandwich of choice as a child was a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich. Eating that combo instantly reminds me of being a kid. I know that’s weird. Don’t @ me. Now, let’s get to it.

Salty Peanut Butter & Fluffernutter Cookie Sandwiches

Adapted from this recipe | yields a dozen sandwiches

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour*

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/4 tablespoon coarsely ground salt (I find that salt from a salt grinder works best)

Marshmallow Fluff:

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat.

Bake your cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter and peanut butter together. Mix in brown sugar. Add in vanilla and the egg and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to aerate and combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until you have a dough. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. 

While dough is chilling, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 tablespoon coarsely ground salt into a small bowl. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the salt/sugar mixture and place on the lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, press the fork into the dough to create the cookie’s pattern. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to get slightly darkened. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Whisk your fluff: Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently until mixture reaches 160 degrees (I used a candy thermometer). Transfer mixture into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beginning at low speed, gradually increase speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

Transfer fluff to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Match up your cookies and place upside down. Pipe marshmallow fluff onto a cookie and lightly press another cookie on top to create sandwiches. Because of the strong salt and peanut butter flavors, this sandwiches can handle a decent amount of fluff inside. I would even encourage another level of fluff.

(This is the fancy way of doing things. Feel free to just slap that fluff into the cookies with an offset spatula or even a spoon.)

Store in an airtight container and eat within a few days. After that, the moisture in the fluff with start to soften the cookies.

*If you do not have cake flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour. The cake flour makes these cookies softer and more delicate, but all-purpose will do just fine in a pinch.

PB Fluff Sandwich Cookies 4.jpg

Cocktail: Blood Orange Paloma

If I’m being honest, I would have a paloma over a margarita any day. Not that I don’t like a margarita, but a paloma just feels more in tune with what I like in a cocktail:

  1. I’m always interested in a grapefruit cocktail and it’s definitely my favorite cocktail “flavor”

  2. Sometimes margaritas give me an acid reflux-like feeling when i drink too many of them

  3. Usually a lighter cocktail since there’s bubbles in it

I also know it’s springtime but I had a bowlful of blood oranges and a grapefruit sitting around just looking to be added to tequila. So a blood orange paloma was born right their on my kitchen counter.

And if you’ve never had a paloma, think of it as the margarita’s lighter, bubblier grapefruit-y partner. It’s good, just try it!

Blood Orange Paloma

Makes 1 drink

  • 2 oz blood orange juice

  • 1 oz grapefruit juice

  • 2 oz tequila

  • splash of lime juice

  • 2-4 dashes of grapefruit bitters (optional but recommended)

  • lime seltzer

  • coarse sea salt for rim

Rim the glass: on a small plate, pour out the coarse sea salt. If you want to seem even fancier, add a tiny amount of chili powder and mix together for a slightly spicy rim. Wet the rim of your glass and press it into the salt. If you are having trouble getting the salt to spicy, try using a small amount of honey or agave syrup to the rim and pressing that into the salt mixture.

Make cocktail: In a cocktail shaker with ice, add blood orange and grapefruit juices, tequila, grapefruit bitters, and squeeze of lime juice. Shake until combined. Add ice to your salt-rimmed glass and pour the cocktail over ice. Cheers!

Recipe: Pistachio and Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

So as it turns out, it’s HARD to dig back into baking. As much as I love baking and I feel fairly good at it, it’s never been something that I’ve been supremely confident about. I generally like to bake things that make me, or the people around me, happy. I’m a 100% self-taught baker with a dream of taking some night classes in pastry or cooking. So when I bake something 3, 4, 5, times and can’t seem to figure out the problem, it’s extremely frustrating. I just feel like I lack the tools to learn and grow.

I’ve been recipe testing these lemon shortbread cookies for weeks and can’t get them to behave correctly. And as you can clearly see, I’m not bringing your lemon shortbread cookies today at all. Because the recipe still isn’t right. But it’s sometimes in those situations when I get creative and think up sometime else to get myself out of that rut. And these cookies are BOMB. Lightly crisp around the outside and bottom, chewy and soft on the inside and filled sweet and salty bits.

So that’s what we’re making today. And maybe there will be lemon shortbread cookies down the line, but in the meantime, I’ll be shoveling these oatmeal gems into my mouth in full force.

Pistachio and Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Yields 2 dozen

  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 egg, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 cups oats

  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredient to the butter mixture, until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, mix in oats by hand. Once combined, add in chopped pistachios and dried cranberries and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Place rounded tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet about an inch and a half apart. Bake 8-10 minutes until the edges and bottom are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before cooling fully on a cooling rack.